"Welcome to the party, pal!"
Updated: Blizzard has now revealed all the remaining cards on a livestream, so this gallery is complete. The sheer amount of cards spoiled in a single hit, coupled with the fact that the first wing's August 11 release date isn't far off, means I won't be going into detailed analysis of this batch. But suffice to say that Beast Druid looks like it's going to be strong, and those poor Priest mains got screwed again.
Original intro: Hopefully your best wizard’s robes are back from the dry cleaners after that embarrassing accident, because there’s a party to go to. On August 11 the first wing of swings open, with 45 new cards to collect from Hearthstone’s latest single-player expansion. You can find more info on pricing, and how the rollout is going to be structured, at the . Meanwhile, we’ll be adding the latest cards to this gallery as they’re spoiled, plus providing early analysis of their potential power levels. Will any of the new legendaries make it into our ? Sorry Moroes, it’s not looking good for you at this point…
Priest of the Feast
Medivh, The Guardian
This card is super interesting, for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s the first time a hero skin has also been used a playable card (discounting the Ragnaros/Majordomo interaction). Secondly, Medivh is a neutral legendary, despite being one of World of Warcraft’s most notable Mages. But most interestingly, he brings with him a brand new piece of equipment, in the form of the game’s first ever staff. Medivh’s 7/7 for 8 Mana statline is obviously slightly subpar, so the reason to play him is for the bonus value from equipping Atiesh. If you swing with it, it’s a slightly worse Light’s Justice, but I suppose that will happen in desperation or for the occasional exact lethal. But the real question is how good is the Summoning Stone-style effect it has, which means you get a value equal to the cost of the spell you cast, up to three times. The answer to that is going to depend on what class you put it in.
This is clearly the exciting legendary which Mike Donais mentioned in his , and he said he was running the card in Priest and Mage. Clearly, to extract maximum value, the answer is to combo it with expensive spells. The Priest dream has to be to play a spell like Entomb on a subsequent turn and get a Sylvanas for free. Mind Control and Holy Fire also suddenly become potentially juicy options too. As for Mage, I don’t see it slotting into Freeze or Tempo, though the idea of getting Deathwing off a Pyroblast is alluring. But a better fit is likely to be the slow decks which StrifeCro is noted for. In these decks, playing a Blizzard or Flamestrike whilst also developing your board is going to make for big swings. If Medivh does end up being hugely powerful, expect an even bigger uptick in the amount of weapon destruction cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze and Harrison Jones being run. With the amount of Warrior around, they’re already attractive picks. Medivh could make them ubiquitous. Overall, this is a slow card like Rhonin, but a potentially strong and certainly really interesting design.
In our interview with , he mentioned that the struggling Priest class would get some help from new neutral cards. This dragon synergy Discover card seems to be what he was talking about. Netherspite Historian's 1/3 statline might be weak against aggressive decks, but Dragon Priest already has Wrymrest Agent and Twilight Whelp to help there. Perhaps the real use of Netherspite Guardian is that it enables you to cut some of the bigger dragons, on the basis that you can Discover them in the late game using this. Given that Museum Curator was good when there was a decent pool of Deathrattles to draw from, there’s a strong chance this will make the cut in Dragon Priest decks. I'd probably drop Forbidden Shaping for this. Paladin might also be able to find room for it, particularly with the potential for Dragon Consort synergy with the expensive card you pick. My only objection is the conditional nature of the effect, but that’s a staple for Dragon cards, and overall this should help the archetype to be more consistent.
Okay, looks like Discard Warlock really is going to be a thing. Add this to Tiny Knight of Evil, Darkshire Librarian, Fist of Jaraxxus, Soulfire, Succubus, Malchezaar’s Imp, and of course Doomguard, and you can bet that players are going to try very hard to come up with a viable list. And it feels like that’s going to involve a very fast deck indeed, vomiting cards onto the board and out of your hand at the same time. Actually, I’ve seen one interesting theory that Prince Malchezaar, which adds five extra legendaries to your deck, might actually be good in Discardlock, because who cares if you throw away a garbage legendary like Millhouse Manastorm? Plus you’re less likely to draw yourself into fatigue. Should be fun to mess about with, although it’s only likely to make the ladder even more aggressive.
Perhaps not the most exciting card at first glance, but don’t sleep on its potential power. Bear in mind that Shattered Sun Cleric was originally a 3/3 which gave a targeted +1/1 buff, and that had to be nerfed. So if you manage to land Zoobot’s effect on one creature it’s decent value, two is nuts, and three probably wins you the game. The thing to consider, as ever, is what kind of decks can accommodate all three tribes. The answer may be Beast Druid, which can probably make room for Sir Finley and Azure Drakes, but don’t ignore a new version of Dragon Warrior either. You might even decide to run Bluegill Warriors and go ultra aggressive. Obviously in these decks you also stick The Curator in at the top end. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This is a solid neutral 2-drop, but one that is already outclassed by a couple of class-specific minions, specifically Sparring Partner in Warrior and Anodized Robo-Cub in Druid. (To be fair, the latter is no longer playable in Standard.) Would any current top tier decks use the Thesp to shore up their early game? It’s main function seems to be to preserve a valuable 1-drop, but it’s hard to imagine including this just to keep your Mana Wrym, Stonetunnel Trogg or Flame Imp safe. Sadly then, likely to be one of those cards with awesome art that you rarely see played. Though it will almost always be an insanely good random result from a Piloted Shredder in Wild.
Hoo boy. It seems Blizzard just can’t make a new set without giving Zoo Warlock some nasty new toys. The caveat here is that Zoo’s low Mana curve means you don’t normally like to run 5-cost cards, other than the Charge finishers Doomguard and Leeroy Jenkins, or Sea Giant which you plan to play for as cheap as possible anyway. But the power of this spell, like Forbidden Ritual, is that it enables you to refill the board fast in the event of a big AoE blowout. Assuming the minions are all vanilla in terms of card text, whether or not a 1/1, 2/2 and 3/3 offer a substantial enough threat is debatable, but the stats are similar to post-nerf Force of Nature, and instant board presence is not an effect to be taken lightly. With that in mind, Karaz Kazham will definitely be a decent pick in Arena. Plus the Fantasia vibe is delightful, which will provide no comfort as you’re being killed by a teapot that’s been buffed to 7/7 by Power Overwhelming.
Aaaaaand here’s another minion seemingly designed especially for Zoo Warlock decks.Opinion seems split on whether Malchezaar’s Imp is good enough to make the cut in current decks which use Doomguard, (so as to mitigate its discard effect), but it’s clear that this is an area of design that Blizzard is keen to explore. Perhaps there’s even scope for a deck that goes super heavy on discard effects and runs currently unused cards like Succubus, Darkshire Librarian, Fist of Jaraxxus, and even Dark Bargain. Curving this into Succubus seems especially strong. And honestly, even if it just makes Soulfire commonplace again—which is already used in some versions of Zoo—then Malchezaar’s Imp will have a substantial impact.
It’s a struggle not to be completely underwhelmed by Moroes. I generally like the idea of having more cheap neutral legendaries, but Medivh’s butler’s effect is subpar. Yes, you could play it in a deck which wants to spam cheap creatures, like Token Druid. But playing Violet Teacher for one extra Mana seems far more powerful, and synergises with all the cheap spells in that sort of strategy. Also, the notion that you can keep Moroes stealthed forever to extract infinite value is fanciful. There isn’t a top tier deck in the game which doesn’t have a way of dealing with a stealthed 1/1. Perhaps there are other cards still to be revealed from the set that will make Moroes more interesting, but right now if Imp Master isn’t seeing play, neither will this.
The only 1-drop minion currently run in Tempo Mage decks is Mana Wyrm, which is an insanely good card. This card’s weak 1/1 body means I don’t expect Babbling Book to replace Mana Wrym, so the question is whether the effect—drawing a random spell—is worth it? I’m on the fence. Spellslinger has seen some play in Tempo Mage, but that has a decent body, and you’re usually able to make easier use of the spell drawn than your opponent, thanks to cards like Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Flame Waker. The question here is what to cut? Perhaps worth experimenting with as a one-of in Tempo Mage, and obviously a good one drop in Arena.
This neutral card is effectively a Stampeding Kodo for Dragon Decks. For one extra Mana you get to target the removal effect, which isn’t insignificant, and an extra point of health. Dragon Priest seems an obvious fit, but that class already has access to Shadow Word: Pain and Cabal Shadow Priest to deal with low attack creatures. Perhaps a better home will be found in Paladin, where cards like Humility, Aldor Peacekeeper, Keeper of Uldaman and, of course, Dragon Consort all combo with it superbly. Even played on its own, there should be plenty of targets, with Twilight Guardian, Imp Gang Boss, Fandral Staghelm, Darkshire Councilman, or Bloodhoof Brave all looking particularly juicy. Not an exciting card, but removal attached to a decent body tends to be playable, so not to be underestimated.
This is one of those legendary cards that people immediately call overpowered but isn’t whatsoever. But getting five extra legendaries must be good! Finally I’ll be able to stick it to those pay to win players with complete collections, right? Well, no. Competitive players will actually tell you that they’d much rather run smaller decks than the current 30-card stipulation, because that way you increase the overall quality of your cards and draw into the ones you want more consistently. Having 35 cards rather than 30 is only going to be relevant if you build a fatigue deck purely designed to outlast the opponent. And even then there’s every chance you’re going to get useless stuff like Millhouse Manastorm and The Beast, rather than some of the like Ragnaros or Sylvanas. And when you draw a duff legendary, rather than one of the cards you put in your deck for a reason, it’s likely to sit dead card your hand.
Crucially, note that the shuffling effect happens at the start of the game. Prince Malchezaar would be much more powerful if the shuffle occurred when you played him, enabling you to save him for the late game. Check out of ex-Team Archon player Jon “Orange” Westberg for a longer explanation of why Prince Malchezaar isn’t a competitive card. Still, I don’t want to sound too curmudgeonly. It absolutely is a fun card, and I’m sure streamers will have fun mucking around with. It will also give new players a taste of using some cool cards they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. In that sense, he’s actually Blizzard’s gateway drug.
Protect the King
There’s a whiff of ‘meme card’ about this Warrior spell, but I think it might be better than it looks at first glance. I can see a world in which Control Warrior runs one or two of these to stall against aggressive decks, particularly given that Face Shaman and Zoo Warlock tend not to run AoE spells, which Protect the King is obviously super weak to. There’s also the fact that if you play this alongside a Brawl, the likelihood of one of your opponent’s creatures surviving immediately becomes 50/50, Deathrattle effects notwithstanding. Otherwise there’s potential synergy with Frothing Berserker and the currently unplayed buff spell Bolster. Oh, and expect everyone to call it Unleash the Pawns.
As someone who’s played a , this is interesting to me. Even before the nerf to the Force of Nature-Savage Roar combo, Blizzard was pushing the class down the road of Beast synergy. This card enables that, and also helps shore up Druid’s traditionally weak early game. (Notably, it’s the first 1 Mana 2/2 printed.) Would you play Enchanted Raven over Living Roots? Maybe. It’s less flexible, and doesn’t buff your Yogg, but will trade cleanly with most other one-drops. It should see play (and, amusingly, is another stealth nerf to Ram Wrangler).
Just as Druid is being pushed towards Beast stuff, so Hunter is steadily becoming the Deathrattle class. A 2-Mana 1/1 won’t necessarily fix Hunter’s early game issues, which at one point saw MrYagut running Doomsayer, but on the upside it’s a Beast which leaves another Beast behind. That will help with activating Houndmaster, Kill Command and Ram Wrangler. Perhaps still too slow against Shamans, but Hunter likes sticky cards and this will also see play. If nothing else, the art is awesome.
I’m less sold on this Mage spell. Does the class really need more burn spells? That said, being able to remove something from the board, at the same time as developing a minion on your side, is a powerful tempo effect. Effectively, you’re paying 2-Mana for 5 damage, which is a pretty good deal, depending on how the RNG on your 5-drop rolls. Sensational if you get a 7/8 Earth Elemental. Less so if it's a 3/3 Faceless Manipulator. Interestingly, Frodan said on the initial reveal stream that there will be five portal cards in total. Meanwhile, it's safe to say that Arena specialist Kripparian is not a fan.
Paladin gets a 4/4 for 6, which is obviously super weak, but as we’ve seen from Raven Idol, the attached Discover spell effect is potentially powerful. Tacking on bonus healing means that the ultra-grindy Healadin builds will be even more viable. Again, I’m confident this will be used, even if it’s a bit ResidentSleeper.
The 5/6 statline for 5-Mana is reasonable, but does Rogue need more midrange minions in a world in which they already have Tomb Pillager? The Battlecry effect is interesting for its synergy with Burgle and Undercity Huckster, but it relies on you having the resulting cards in hand when you play the Peddler. A bit too situational for my liking, and given that Shadow-Pan Rider isn’t seeing any play outside Arena, my gut feeling is that this won’t either.
Another neutral legendary, and at 4-Mana it’s possible to compare Barnes to Elise Starseeker and Fandral Staghelm. The fact he loses one point of Health suggests his effect is a powerful one, which I guess it will be if he pulls a 1/1 version of Sylvanas, Cairne, Ysera, Tirion, Ragnaros or some other gross legendary from your deck. But if he grabs your 2-drop, probably not so much. Still, interesting, and potentially insane in N'Zoth decks built around big Deathrattles. I was initially not sold on Barnes, partly because Herald Volazj has a similar effect and has seen precisely no play. But summoning is very different to copying, in that you don’t need to have any board presence for it to be good. On that basis, Barnes could be pretty strong, in an infuriating RNG sort of way. Art looks a bit Saturday morning cartoon for my taste though.
Okay, this neutral Mech legendary with Taunt looks dumb at a glance. But I like it. Maybe a lot. Obviously it’s a “build around” card. It’s too early to say what the best class for The Curator will be, and you definitely aren’t looking for a multi-tribal synergy deck—but don’t forget how powerful an effect drawing specific cards on cue can be. Imagine using this in, say, Midrange Paladin, in order to refill your hand with Ysera, Mukla Tyrant of the Vale and, uh, Murloc Knight. Okay, that’s probably madness. But trust me, a lot of streamers are going to try to make this work. It may also be a good fit for Druid, which lost a lot of card draw with the brutal nerf to Ancient of Lore, and can easily find room for a Beast and a Dragon, with Sir Finley potentially providing the Murloc option.